Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim in South Dakota
Unlike in many other states, employers in South Dakota are not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, many do, as this protects them from individual liability in the event of a work-related injury or occupational disease. If you are injured on the job, you might be covered by workers’ compensation if your employer has elected this type of coverage. If not, you will need to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer if you wish to recover compensation for your damages.
Even if you are covered by workers’ compensation, you may find that it is not always easy to recover your rightful benefits after an on-the-job accident. If you are having trouble with any aspect of your claim, from the initial filing process to appealing a denied claim, we encourage you to reach out to our firm to discuss your legal rights and options. We can discuss your legal rights and options with you and seek the best possible outcome for your case.
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What to Do After a Work-Related Injury or Illness
Whether you were involved in an on-the-job accident, were injured over time due to the work-related duties, or were diagnosed with an occupational disease, there are several steps you should take to protect your right to financial compensation.
After a work-related injury or illness, you should do the following:
- Evaluate your injuries and, if necessary, seek immediate medical attention by calling 911. Even if your injuries do not appear to be serious, see a doctor and receive treatment. Your health and well-being are of the utmost importance. Additionally, having a record of your medical care can be critical to the outcome of your workers’ compensation claim.
- Find out if your employer has workers’ compensation insurance and if you are covered. Generally speaking, you must be classified as an “employee” (not an independent contractor) to be covered by workers’ compensation. In most cases, workers’ compensation covers both part-time and full-time employees, as well as seasonal workers.
- If you are covered and wish to file a workers’ compensation claim, you should notify your employer of the injury/illness right away. By law, you only have three business days to provide written notice of your injury/illness to your employer if you want to file a workers’ compensation claim, so do not wait to take this important step.
- Once you have notified your employer of your injury/illness, they should file a workers’ compensation claim with their insurance provider on your behalf. If they refuse to do so, however, you have the option of filing a claim directly with the Division of Labor and Management.
- Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider has 20 days to investigate your claim and either approve or deny it. The insurance company can request an additional 30 days to complete its investigation. While the insurance company is conducting its investigation, you should follow all your doctor’s recommendations and treatment plans. Do not try to return to work early, do not skip follow-up appointments, and do not do anything else that may jeopardize your claim’s approval.
We also recommend that you contact an experienced attorney, like those at Beardsley, Jensen & Lee, for help if you were seriously injured or are having any issues with your employer or the insurance company. Workers’ compensation claims are often denied, but employees have the option of appealing. Even if your claim was denied, you could still be entitled to benefits.
What Injuries & Illnesses Are Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
If you are covered by workers’ compensation, you are covered for any injury or illness you suffer in relation to your job. This includes injuries caused by traumatic workplace accidents and those developed over time due to repetitive motions and other job-related duties and activities. It also includes occupational diseases and illnesses that occur in relation to one’s employment.
Some of the most common work-related injuries and illnesses for which workers’ compensation claims are filed include:
- Traumatic injuries resulting from one-time workplace accidents
- Brain injuries, including traumatic brain injuries
- Back injuries
- Head, neck, and shoulder injuries
- Commercial motor vehicle accident-related injuries
- Repetitive motion injuries (e.g., carpal tunnel syndrome)
- Accidental amputation of a limb or extremity
- Hearing and/or vision loss (partial or total)
- Respiratory illnesses
- Stress and mental health-related disorders/injuries
- Spine/spinal cord injuries
Depending on the nature and severity of your injury or illness, you could be entitled to partial or total temporary or permanent disability benefits. These are a type of wage replacement benefit intended to help employees who are unable to return to work (temporarily or permanently) due to their injuries/illnesses.
Additionally, if you are covered by workers’ compensation, you could be entitled to medical benefits, which cover all costs associated with treating your injuries or illness. These include both emergency medical care costs and ongoing expenses, as well as transportation costs associated with traveling to and from doctors’ appointments.
Why You Need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
South Dakota law does not require you to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer to file a claim. However, it is in your best interests to work with an experienced legal professional who can walk you through the process and help ensure that you do not make any mistakes that could jeopardize your chance of recovering benefits.
Workers’ compensation claims can be very complex, and an inexperienced individual may make critical errors that bar them from securing compensation for their losses. Our Rapid City workers’ compensation attorneys can help ensure that your claim is filed correctly and according to the appropriate timelines. We can also represent you in appeals proceedings if your claim is denied.
Additionally, our attorneys are well-versed in the personal injury system. If necessary, we can help you bring a third-party work injury claim.
Contact Us for a Complimentary Case Evaluation
Regardless of the complexity of your case, Beardsley, Jensen & Lee is here to help you understand your rights and legal options. We are available to answer your questions throughout the legal process and can handle every aspect of your case so that you can focus on getting proper medical treatment and moving forward with your life.
We provide free initial consultations and do not collect any upfront fees. Instead, we are only paid if we recover compensation for you. Get in touch with us today to put over 100 years of combined legal experience on your side.